By Shivani Gosai | Opinions Editor
Last year, I was not able to attend the first Women’s March — the groundbreaking event that sparked an international movement — so I made it a point to attend this year.
When I arrived in D.C. the morning of the March, the sun was shining high and the air was warm with positivity.
The streets were brimming with the color pink. People with signs and posters filled the streets leading up to the White House. There, more than 10,000 protesters gathered.
In front of the White House, we were packed like sardines and there was hardly room to move. Some people had climbed the statues in front of the lawn and proudly held up their signs. Although there were fewer people than last year, there was no way Trump would have been able to ignore this crowd.
The signs people had created were absolutely incredible. They ranged from hilarious Trump puns to inspirational feminist quotes. Two of the best ones I saw said “Kamala 2020” and “I’ve been personally victimized by Kellyanne Conway.” Even some dogs could be seen toting signs along with their owners.
A few pro-life supporters had set up in front of the White House with megaphones. Their rhetoric was not welcomed, but no fights or arguments broke out. Instead, protesters held their signs of peace in front of them and chanted, “My body, my choice,” to drown out their speeches.
Protest, a term with a more negative connotation, became the complete opposite of what you would traditionally expect. Women were not screaming and burning bras, and they were not destroying cars or government property.
The atmosphere wasn’t filled with anger and frustration, but rather hope and optimism. Strangers danced and laughed together. They sang along to “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon and “Run the World” by Beyoncé. Women held hands and chanted.
It was surreal.
There was no negativity. Just strangers uplifting others. It was here when I realized how strong all of these strangers are and how much of an impact they make together. The same people who feel abused by our government are standing here resolute and proud, to show that we are not going to be silenced. It was a prominent message that even though they feel demoralized, they will not let it affect them.
Everyone was here for the same purpose, to show solidarity and support for what they believe in. People were there to advocate for varying goals such as healthcare reform, immigration reform, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, environmental protection, racial equality and freedom of religion. The main goal for this year’s march was to encourage women (and everyone else) to vote. A major theme was women running for office and combating sexual harassment and unequal treatment in the workplace.
I was so impressed and emotional that I had to take a few minutes to just spectate.
The March was more than I had hoped for. It was bursting with passion and genuine happiness. Not only did I feel empowered while participating, but it was also a ton of fun.
One man, who looked incredibly alike to Mike Pence, dubbed himself as “Mike Hot-Pence” and marched while wearing a suit with no pants. While as hilarious as the situation was, he was doing it to raise awareness for the organization “She Should Run,” which is a non-profit that supports women trying to run for office. He was instantly famous among the crowd.
It was incredible to see the diversity of who attended. Not only were women present, but men, children, transgender people, the disabled and army veterans. The people who attended are all citizens defending the prosperity of our country and working towards brighter future for the generations to come. These citizens are Muslims, Catholics and Jews. They are immigrants. They are gay, straight and queer.
This march was about bringing people together instead of dividing them. It was amazing to see that all the people who had surrounded me were here to show love and acceptance. These strangers had become sisters.
As the March died down, people left their signs at the fence in front of the White House as a symbol of their impactful resistance there to stay. I am truly grateful to be able to have this experience and be apart of a significant moment in history. To create change we have to commit to it; starting here. This march is the beginning of positive change. It is the beginning of a revolution.